Main content area

Parturition effects on reproductive health in the gilt and sow

Peltoniemi, OAT, Björkman, S, Oliviero, C
Reproduction in domestic animals 2016 v.51 Suppl S2 pp. 36-47
colostrum, constipation, early lactation, extraembryonic membranes, farrowing, fetus, gilts, maternal behavior, milk consumption, piglets, placenta, pregnancy, retained placenta, sows, ultrasonography, uterus, weaning
In this review, we address significant characteristics of parturition in the pig and their connection to post‐partum reproductive health and fertility. We discuss the normal physiology and behaviour around parturition and the effect of the second phase (expulsion of foetuses) on the third phase of parturition (expulsion of foetal membranes). In addition, we intend to cover retained placenta, and the connection to post‐partum uterine health and fertility in the contemporary prolific sow. We also explore factors that support successful parturition or can cause potential problems. Successful parturition in the pig includes the possibility to express adequate maternal behaviour, rapid expulsion of the piglets, complete expulsion of the placenta, neonatal activity and colostrum intake. Abnormal incidents during any phase of parturition can cause subsequent problems. Duration of the expulsion phase of foetuses can be used as a simple measure of whether parturition is considered successful. Prolonged parturition can impair health of the sow and piglet and fertility after weaning. New insights, such as adding more fibre to sow diets during pregnancy, and especially during the period prior to farrowing, may prevent constipation, increase water intake of the sow around parturition and increase milk intake and performance of piglets. Maternal characteristics, including maternal behaviour, ease of parturition, colostrum production and piglet quality parameters, may be utilized to improve success rate of reproductive management during farrowing and early lactation. Additionally, we share some of the recent developments in methods, including ultrasonography in evaluation of post‐partum uterine health. In conclusion, successful farrowing is of the greatest importance for reproductive health of the sow and survival of the piglets. We suggest connections exist among prolonged farrowing and yield of colostrum, retained placenta, development of PDS, and impaired involution of the uterus and reduced subsequent fertility.